13 Feb Featured Artist | Michael Napolielo | If Our Love
Running on the beach on a sunny day in SoCal is the ideal time for storyteller, Michael Napolielo, to think about his next project. He teaches entertainment business at USC in Los Angeles. When he’s not working on a movie, he is busy sharpening his skills on another storytelling medium: song.
“Trends come from artists. You can follow a path for a time, but ultimately, you have to do your own thing.”
What is the inspiration behind “If Our Love”?
I typically write blues rock but I was inspired by Neil Young and Leonard Cohen to try something in waltz time. I was also impressed by their ability to tell a very particular story (in the case of “If Our Love” two young lovers starting out with promise and adventure in their hearts) but then make it a universal theme, as in the last line of the song: “If our love should fade/then it’s precious in time/to have lived before it died.”
What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your storytelling?
I am a movie producer. I love how just a small part of a song (perhaps a bridge, musical interlude, or the first half a chorus) can change the entire mood/message of a scene. In fact, I am working on an entire album called “Songs for the Movie in your Mind” that are very economical lyrically and musically. I also like to box. That takes care of the frustration.
Is there a particular song or musical passage that never fails to move you emotionally?
There are thousands. But when Peter Gabriel screams “Why don’t you touch me…?” in the song “The Musical Box,” that brings chills. Also, when Jim Morrison posits in “The Soft Parade” that “It’s getting harder to describe sailors to the underfed,” I know I am in the presence of rock writer of true originality and insight. But, it’s not all old stuff. Louis the Child really captures a mood perfectly in their song “Go.” And Jake Bugg proves to me that the spirit of Dylan lives on in songs like “Lightening Bold” and “On My One.”
Do you consider trends when writing a new song?
No. I never think about trends. I’ve never met a true artist who does. Trends come from artists. You can follow a path for a time, but ultimately, you have to do your own thing.